Last week saw the first anniversary of the official launch of the reconfigured and rebranded Finn Harps 500 Club. One year on, and Ollie Horgan and the board of directors are once again keen to emphasise the importance of the fundraising initiative which invites the fans to “Be Part Of The Team” and become the ‘investors’ who backed the management team in building a first team squad to compete at the top level of Irish football.
The public response was hugely encouraging, with membership soaring beyond expectations through 2020. As a result, the 500 Club not only laid the foundations for the club’s highest league finish in 20 year but was also invaluable in keeping the home fires burning during the unprecedented 21 week stoppage to the League of Ireland season due to the COVID19 Pandemic. And come the end of January the 500 club will have competed 52 draws since its relaunch and will have given away an incredible €25,400 in cash prizes to more than 150 winners.
Manager Ollie Horgan once again stressed the importance of this fundraiser. “The support we got last year for the 500 Club, the faith the supporters put in myself and Paul Hegarty and the management team, was absolutely excellent. We need every bit of help we can get. We said that loud and clear last year and, to be fair, people stepped up and backed us. And it was a big help to us in getting a little bit of extra quality into the squad.”
And that support will be needed once again in 2021 according to the Harps boss. “Myself and Paul and the whole operation are very busy at the minute, it’s a tough time of the year, we probably don’t enjoy it as much as the rest of the season. There’s a huge amount of work to be done and having the 500 Club there has helped us a lot to do the business we have done so far. We will definitely need to add a few more, and we need people to back us again through the 500 Club to help us to do that.”
Horgan has already been busy both in retaining key members of last season’s squad, as well as adding some new faces. Stephen Doherty, Ryan Connelly, Stephen Folan, Dave Webster, Karl O’Sullivan, Marc Anthony McGinley, Tony & Barry McNamee, Shane McEleney, and Mark Timlin from last year’s group have already committed for the new campaign, while Under 19 goalkeeper Patrick McGarvey made the step up to sign his first professional contract after spending much of last season with the first team squad. Meanwhile new faces include Ryan Rainey from Bonagee United, Will Seymore from Sligo Rovers and Conor Barry from Galway United.
Finn Harps Fundraising Officer Trevor Gordon has also been happy with the first 12 months of the relaunched 500 Club and has also been working on plans for the new season. “We are delighted with the response we got from our supporters last year, and I want to thank everyone who was a member of the 500 Club at any stage last year. We recently did a survey of our current membership to see what was working, and what maybe wasn’t working in our first year. The response was great, we had over 150 replies. Thankfully, the vast majority of people are happy with how things have been going, and we were also glad to get feedback on things we can do hopefully better. A lot of it confirmed what we already suspected but we’ve issued a full report back to the members and we’ve a few new initiatives for 2021 which we will be announcing shortly”
Monthly memberships cost €25 per month, while prepaid memberships for 3, 6 and 12 months are also available. All members are entered into a weekly draw for prizes totalling €500, with a top weekly prize of €300 and two runners up prizes of €100. Membership can be taken out online at www.finnharps.ie/500club or by emailing 500Club@finnharps.ie for a Standing Order form.